Everybody knows that guy.
Maybe you’ve even been that guy.
I’ve probably been that guy.
The guy who always has something to say.
It doesn’t matter the topic, the occasion, or the people in the room, that guy will freely and confidently opine on anything and everything.
He fancies himself an expert on all subjects. And he thinks you want to hear all about it.
His verbal confidence may have benefited him thus far. It may have won him a promotion or a management role in an inattentive company where his many words are mistaken for leadership.
Now, you may be thinking that a leader must lead and that he must use words to lead.
This is true. But there is a difference between talking to appear smart and talking to help your team accomplish its goal.
Proverbs gives us helpful insight how to distinguish between the two.
“The wise of heart will receive commandments, but a babbling fool will come to ruin.” (Proverbs 10:8)
The Scripture is contrasting “receiving commandments” with the “babbling fool.”
Here’s the upside down business idea: Your attempt to prove your wisdom may actually be proof that you lack it.
Are you a babbling fool or are you receptive to external ideas? Would your peers and employees say you are best characterized an approachable, listening leader or a self-absorbed, inflexible manager? Does your speaking engage and energize those around you or does it silence and crush differing viewpoints? Do you use your words to force the room to hear your opinion or do you use them to pull the best input from each team member?
Fight the urge to prove what is inside you and lean into the opportunity to learn what is outside you.
Your leadership is shown more by your willingness to hear than your ability to speak.